Career Advice: Manners Matter

Unfortunately, in today's world, I see a trend toward bad or a complete lack of manners in society. I realize that most or all of us at times have dropped the ball on this issue. However, and maybe I am showing my age, I was raised to use good manners and was corrected when I didn't. Needless to say, my orneriness created a real challenge for my parents and still does for my wife.   

That being said, it seems like society or at least some parts of the media make it appear cute, or celebrity-like to not use good manners. In addition, I have seen instances where those individuals using good manners are ridiculed or made to appear nerdy or out of touch.   

As a parent and business professional, I find a lack of manners a real turn off and possibly a deciding factor on whether to hire, purchase from or do business with a firm or individual.

Ironically, there is an article by On Device Research regarding young people ages 16-34 that have been rejected for a job due to their social media profile. In this case they specifically referenced Facebook.

Yet even more troubling is the fact that the majority (two-thirds) of those surveyed are not concerned that their use of social media now, may harm their future career prospects and are not deterred from using it. 

In addition, the respondents noted that they are also more likely to have altered their social media profile to look good to their friends, as opposed to prospective employers. 

You would not think it necessary to educate these young adults regarding  the impact of social media, to ensure they are not making it even harder for themselves to get on the career ladder.

This article just validated my belief that many younger adults don't realize that a lack of manners could stifle their career. You may think manners are dead, and you may be right. However, if you think you can get ahead at the office while being a boor and a slob, you're wrong, says Dana May Casperson, author of Power Etiquette: What You Don't Know Can Kill Your Career (AMACOM). 

Here are some simple reminders to help fast-forward you on your career path: 

  • Speak and laugh softly.
  • Use the magic words "please" and "thank you."
  • Don't whistle or hum while you work.
  • Don't bang the keys on your keyboard.
  • Send cards and flowers to co-workers when appropriate.
  • Keep tissues on your desk.
  • Keep an extra chair close by for visitors.
  • Clean up after yourself in meetings and in the lunch area.
  • Avoid loud, obnoxious phone conversations.

                   Adapted from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch 

I realize that it may seem redundant or even intuitive to say that good manners are important. However, many of today's younger adults don't realize this and are under a false belief that if celebrities and athletes can get away with it (i.e., bad manners) then why can't I. Well, that is just not reality, and we need to lead by example. 

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